The Babe Ruth story – a snapshot biography

Portrait of baseball star Babe Ruth

“I always swing at the ball with all my might. I hit or miss big and when I miss I know it long before the umpire calls a strike on me, for every muscle in my back, shoulders and arms is groaning, ‘You missed it.’ And be­lieve me, it is no fun to miss a ball that hard. Once I put myself out of the game for a few days by a miss like that.”

He was a man beloved. Talkative, playful, full of energy, people said he was a big kid, the kind of person who never grew up. But, as a baseball player, he was mighty, the best of his time, maybe even the best of all-time.

Babe Ruth was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1895. A troublemaker as a child, he skipped school, took part in fights, and when his father who owned a saloon wasn’t looking, Babe took swigs of beer. His unruly behavior led his parents to send him to the St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, a reform school, at the age of seven.

At the school Babe found discipline, he found mentorship, and while it’s not entirely clear how he began playing the sport, he found baseball. And in baseball, he found much success. He would go on to stardom in the MLB, playing first for the Red Sox and then for many years with the Yankees, where he set many records, some of which stand today. And for the Yankees, who had never won a title before Babe joined the team, he would lead them to four World Series victories. 

After twenty-two seasons, he retired in 1935. He held 56 Major League Baseball records at retirement, including most home runs in a season and most total home runs.

Amongst a number of philosophies he had for life, Babe would say, “You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.” 


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“The Babe Ruth story – a snapshot biography” sources: “‘Keep Your Eye On the Ball’; No, Not Golf, It’s Babe Ruth,” by Ruth (as told to Pegler), in The Chicago Tribune(August 13, 1920), p. 11; reprinted as “How to Hit Home Runs,” in Playing the Game: My Early Years in Baseball, p. 29 / Babe Ruth Wikiquote (https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Babe_Ruth) / “Bat It Outǃ” by George Herman (‘Babe’) Ruth, in The Rotarian (July 14, 1940), pp. 12-14 / http://www.baberuth.com/biography/ Babe Ruth Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babe_Ruth) / Portrait taken in 1920, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division